A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. ~Oscar Wilde

Archive for the ‘Circle Moments’ Category

Is your list ready?

Here it is. Once again. Like clockwork. Inevitably. A New Year. There are a few more Earth days to 2016, but the world is busy planning for that moment just past midnight which we will label 2016. Is it the Westernised world only? Let us just accept that a majority of the world, regardless of the calendar they culturally follow, are thinking to some extent of their New Year resolutions, with regard to the moment that 31 December 2015 will roll into 1 January 2016.

Sure enough, on the blogs I follow, and in the emails I receive, many people talking about what they hope to achieve in 2016, how best to do so, and some are even sharing some of what they dared to wish for and did achieve in 2015.

There are the “doers” like Tony Robbins (e.g. New Year New You, although this is a video from a while ago, I am guessing that his advice would be the same today), the practical spiritualists like Slade Robinson (Bite sized goals),  the dreamers like Nina Lamy (The Pollyanna Plan) and let us never forget the totally “out there”, “taking it to the extreme”, Abraham (one site you can find them on) who are proponents of the “Feel Good” path to your dreams.

There is a constant tug of minds between the so called scientifically minded, and the supposedly opposite spiritually inclined, as well as the whole gamut of people who are sort of inclined towards one path, while also believing in the other path as well. But everyone, possibly, agrees on one thing. They all agree that all people wish for their tomorrows to be more spectacularly fun than their yesterdays.

So you have those who tell you to dream big. Write it all down. Make a list, or many. Break it down into chunks. Go hell for leather. Aim for the stars and you will at least reach the clouds.

Others tell you to go the more cautious way. Dream big, but not too big, as you may be setting yourself up for failure. Follow step one, two, three….

There are those, and these people catch the most flak, who say that ALL you have to do is to feel great. Happy. Joyous. In love with what you already have. Expect what you wish for to manifest. ALL of what you wish for. This is perhaps the most difficult recommendation to swallow. For our life experience tells us a completely different story. If we want to have a drink of water, we have to get off our backside, walk to the tap, fill out a tumbler, and drink it. Or we have to ask someone for it. Point is, something needs to DONE before something happens. No pain, no gain. We need to push ourselves to just those 2 mm over our limit to get that extraordinary life. Besides, who can remain constantly happy in the face of the barrage of “evils” that life can throw at us?

Of course, the answer to this, we hear, is that our experience has been shaped by our expectations. And so the dialogue continues. Does our expectation shape our manifestation, or do we expect what has manifested?

We are always  eager to manifest so much, right now. Our education has taught us that we need to work hard in order to get anything. I think therein lies the problem. As soon as we say work “hard” we paint what can be a joyous experience in ugly colours. Hard. Difficult. Strenuous. Sweaty. Sleepless hours. Straining muscles. Aching head. “GMMMPPPFFFFH!” Every thing that is un-fun, scary and horrible.

Let us consider, in our cynicism, that we will never achieve a hundred percent of our dreams. That it is all too hard, too distant, perhaps even too unworthy. Let us then consider whether we enjoy being bogged down by that cynicism. As we live our day to day lives entwined in the mundane, do we have to ignore all the small wonders that lift our hearts and make our spirits sing? Even in the darkest hours is there not always something that we can look to, and say “Thank you for being here, right in this moment, to remind me that all is not lost”?

Let us consider, again, what that recognition of the small beauties leads to. It leads us to feel better, and even more than that, feel good. Is there not always that chance that this good feeling will make us more attuned to the other scattered bits of magic around us? May not this awareness lead us to seek more? More feeling good, more noticing the divine in the mundane?

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_1Does that mean that there is a possibility that, by the end of 2016, we will have reached a place of more beauty through a journey of more adventure? Does that mean that the advice of the stalwarts may actually carry a grain of sense? Or two? Why not give it a try? Why not choose a path, there are many, to our own fun? Santa has made his list, and he has delivered. Now is the time for us to make our list, and the beauty is, that the Universe will deliver. Before you argue the point, is your list ready?

 

photo credit: Death to the Stock Photos

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The safe life

angel light

The pursuers were no longer too close. I could still hear their cries and the sound of them crashing through the undergrowth. I could no longer hear their loud breathing. Even so, I knew that I could not slow down. Whatever had caused them to fall behind would not hold them back for too long, and soon they would be upon me again. Tired as I was, I had to speed up. I struggled to pick up my pace through the bush, hindered by the saplings and branches of trees swinging and snapping into me and the leaves brushing into my eyes. I was running a dangerous course with my eyes almost closed.

The terrain had been sloping upwards slightly, and even though I was not fully familiar with the land, I gauged that I was moving away from my destination and had to get back to flat land before I could get back home.

I ran though the bush, wincing but refraining with from crying out loud as the branches snapped into my face, and the sharp pebbled surface of the floor of the forest cut through my torn shoes. The ground dipped irregularly and I caught myself from stumbling a number of times, each time catching my breath and muttering a roughly termed prayer for my life. I hoped I was not near any cliff, and even as the thought escaped my mind into the dark moonless night, I tripped, fell, slid, rolled down the sudden steep slope downwards, catching at saplings and low branches of trees, desperately trying to stop my momentum. The thundering rush of blood to my heart drowned out the sound of any pursuers, and suddenly I found myself dangling from the edge of a cliff, a branch of a tree growing at the edge cutting into my palms as I clung on for dear life.

It was with tremendous effort that I caught the cry that rose from my throat, petrified of being heard by the hunters. I clung on to the over hanging branch. power rising from my desperation to live and fear of falling. Each limb trembling, I tried to find a foothold, but could only feel smooth rock. I could not heave myself up for fear of cracking the branch that held me to my life, and being found. I tried to quiet my breathing, softening the rasping by degrees. The crashing of the undergrowth brought news that they had come close, and would be at the cliff in moments. I flattened myself into the cliff as much as I could, clutching onto the branch with increasingly sweaty palms, praying that they did not have lights and would not think to look down the cliff side. I remembered that they had not had any lights before, and counted my blessing.

They were at the cliff top, hollering at each other, I was glad I was in deeper shadow under the tree. I dared not look up in case my movement caused the tree to move, and alerted them. I dared not look down terrified that the dark void reaching far to the bottom would overwhelm me. It shames me to admit it, but I am terrified of heights. I buried my face into the slight growth in the side of the cliff, closed my eyes and mingled desperate prayers with the effort to still my trembling. I had no idea how long I would be able to hang on, but I knew that I would have to, for maybe longer than I could.

After a long time, a very long time, my hunters suddenly stopped the yelling and stomping and milling around at the top of the cliff, and following a loud barked command stomped away through the forest. I listened to the noises fade away until at last the forest returned to its nightly quiet. I did not think it would be a good idea to try and climb back out to the hilltop and I was certain that letting go would precipitate me to a sharp and very painful death. Now seemed a good time as any to turn to prayer.

Tears scalding my cheeks I whispered, “Please God, please save me, please show me that miracle I have been waiting for all my life.” Beyond the breeze seeming to suddenly cool and fan my face lovingly, there was no response. My hear still thumped with fear, and my arms still screamed with intense pain reminding me that to let go meant certain death. I tried again, “ Please God!” but could go no further as I did not have any other words. Everything seemed inadequate. I felt like it was getting light, so I opened my eyes a slit wondering whether it was already turning into day, but it was not. All was still dark, it was just that there was a ball of light a little bigger than a humming bird hovering next to me. I thought I could make out wings flapping furiously as the light steadied itself close to my head.

I heard a soft whisper, “Just let go.”

Huh? That was my miracle? Just let go, and plummet to your death? I was not ready to die! I heard it again.

“Just let go.” Then, even more bizarrely, “You are safe”.

Sure. I am safe in the arms of God. I would just be gathered up. Dead! Nope! I was not letting go.

“You are safe. Let go of the branch”. The ball of light seemed to pulsate around me glowing in itself, but without imparting light to the surroundings. “Just let go.”

I heard my own voice speak in a fierce, low whisper: “NO” through shut teeth.

“Could you loosen the little finger of one hand? Just one little finger? You are safe”. Insistent little firefly!

I wondered whether God really wanted me to die, or was this beautiful, seemingly harmless light straight from the Devil? Even as the thought crossed my mind, I nearly laughed out loudly at my religious conundrum. Alright, one little finger could do no harm. Holding my breath, I let go of one finger. I gritted my teeth, but did not fall.

“You are safe” The little light fluttered around, weaving in and out of my field of vision. My head was still pushed hard into the cliff wall. I would not risk anything by moving my head too much.

“How about the other little finger?” The cheeky little flicker of my imagination seemed to know all the tricks. “You are safe”.

I hesitated. The light grew closer to me. “You are safe”.

Feeling a little braver now, I pried the other little finger off the branch. My state of dangling hopelessness seemed not to have changed. The cool breeze was certainly cooling off my heated brow, and making my shirt less sticky on my back.

“You are safe.” It said again. “You are safe”.

“Who are you?”

“I am your miracle. Go on, try another finger. Just let go”.

Now this was almost too much, but the soft light, cool breeze and drying sweat seemed to have calmed my nerves. I slowly unfurled one index finger. Wow. With seven fingers doing the work of ten, I was still hanging on securely, and the little piece of light had gone into a frenzy of celebration.

“You are safe. You are safe. You are safe”. It chanted softly as it danced around me, only slightly more tangible than a will o’ the wisp, though the whirring of the wings remained loud and clear.

Slowly through the night I was coaxed into letting go finger by finger.

“You are safe. You are safe. You are safe”.

As I marvelled at the ease with which I could hang on to the branch with a diminishing number of fingers, the little light danced around me.

“You are safe. You are safe. You are safe”.

At last, there I was, hanging on by one hand and three fingers, having let go of the last couple without much prompting from the now dizzily happy little bubble of light.

It floated so close to my eyes, I could not look away.

“You can let go of all three fingers together now. You are safe”. This whisper was urgent in its insistence. A climax seemed to have been reached.

Allowing my head to turn and look straight into the light, I took a deep breath, and so much more easily than I thought would be possible, I let go of the branch that had been holding me to the edge of the cliff. I might have heard some clapping as I slid down the cliff side and suddenly found myself on solid ground. I fell on to my knees, exhausted and triumphant, and slowly straightened up. Far in the East, there was a hint of light, the harbinger of sunrise. I looked up at the cliff. That little bubble of light had been right. I had just come down maybe a foot or two. I had been safe. All along.angel light

 

 

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/angel-light-lichtgestalt-bible-645591/

The little person monologues

rays_of_light_184565The blogosphere has brought the monologue to the ordinary person. All talk show hosts get a chance to speak their mind on an array of subjects as do comedians, politicians, lecturers etc etc etc unhindered for the duration of their speech. They may get e-beaten up afterwards, but for the time that they have centre stage, they get to have their say. Before the age of Blogs, Vlogs and Facebook posts, the lay person, or the wise, never had a chance to get on a bandbox unfettered by fears of being knocked off by rotten tomatoes. Loudmouthed opinionated articulates (I was one of these) did manage to get much of their points across, but the barrage of face to face disagreeing heckles would either cause these people to retire hurt, or become belligerent, or both.

Today, I can get on to my little corner of the world wide web, and even if my 62 +/- page views per post is no match to, say Stephen Fry’s 11.7 followers per Tweet, I get to have my say. People like, comment, or just move on as is their wont, and I think on it.

The monologue of the little person has much power, though. Many little people posting monologues engender many little person dialogues, and suddenly there is a large dialogue which can bring down governments, or, save the whales. Much has been discussed in social media about the power of itself, and I am no stranger or enemy to this phenomenon. I am  wholeheartedly grateful that this is a power that has been unleashed, for good and for not so good by people such as The Zuckerberg, The Williams-Glass-Dorsey-Stone, and The Hurley-Chen-Karim. Always keeping in mind that this power has unleashed a backwash of hate, bullying and hurt that has massacred as much as it has brought love, harmony, progress, to the foreshore.

There was a time when if I said something that made no sense to my audience I would be shouted down immediately. It happened quite often, as most of those I spoke to were wider read than me, more in touch with current affairs and had facts, figures and songs on the tips of their tongues. Those half baked ideas which started in my pre sleep thoughts and took brightly hued though nebulous shape in my dreams, just floated on the periphery of my awakening consciousness. Thus, when I started to speak with the confidence of extreme youth, I got entangled, and got dismissed by others of extreme youth. Over years (many years) I learnt to speak more forgivingly, in a manner that embraced other opinions, and I found that I still never got to have my full say. Everyone I was with also had opinions which they were eager to voice in their most allowing way.

So when I tentatively put my foot into the world of blog posts and, for the most part, received positive feedback I was amazed. I am still less widely read, less in touch with current affairs, than many people I come into contact with, and have virtually no figures to guild my facts with. I spent hours writing and re writing my posts to make it least offensive to most viewers. I refrained from putting up viewpoints that appeared to me harsh or indefensible within my still awakening consciousness. In the early days I did allow my sarcastic tongue (almost) full reign to put up a few reviews. But of late, even when I have nothing to say in glowing terms, I have tried to be mellow in my expressions of dislike. It has always been striking that, even in these cases, the attitude of many of those who know me in a more personal sphere, has been, “If you want honesty, go to (bodhimoments, the person), but you may not be able to handle it”. It has left me mystified, because I have always felt that I am saying things in the most loving manner possible. Yet, I have been grateful for my moment in cyberspace.

I guess, my core being has remained unchanged, even as the core beings of all the people I have come into contact with through my life have remained unchanged. There is, in more cases than I probably recognise, a growing awareness of the subtle world around us, but to me it seems that most people react to the events in sporadic and will o’the wisp manner. Outrage here. Bleeding heart there. The world seems to sway from one cause to another, locked in a momentary embrace of “This is what needs to be addressed. Now”. Yet, each person is in their own self, a universe unto themselves. (that sentence makes me cringe! The grammar makes no sense.)

Each monologue from the little person on the web seems to generate a dialogue, or a “multilogue” which then dips and swells for as long as the root monologues from the stalwarts of popular consciousness sustain them. After that there is the next 11 second wonder that raises its head. There is nothing wrong in this. Our lives are intricate meshes of innumerable threads, and whichever one snags at any given point of time is the one that gets the most attention.

Reverting back to the idea that our core being remains unchanged, even when we feel ourselves renewed, maybe we can bring change in the world (if we want to) by paying attention to the shiny threads within our own selves. Those bits of colour, light and awesome adventure that make us wake up at the crack of the occasional dawn feeling that nothing is more plausible than this moment of infinite possibility given to us, in this place of love, right within the light that shines within us. We have all felt it. Go on! Admit it!

http://all-free-download.com/free-photos. Photo credit

The Telescopic Vision of Mr Jefferson

Thomas JeffersonLeave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Obviously Mr Jefferson had never read a lot of the popular literature of the twenty first century, some of which read like they were written by an unlearned person, and others read like they were edited by an unlearned person. In order to avoid the risk of offending many of the popular authors fast garnering millions of dollars in royalties, I will not mention any books here. The point remains, though, that reading does not necessarily equate to learning. Reading, however, can equate to recreation, and has the advantage over exercise that it need not be confined to any part of the day.

The next thing that jumps out is that Thomas Jefferson, may the Lord bless his wise soul, does not seem to have heard of mental health. Yes, exercise, does improve mental health, but reading does so as well, and it seems to me, from his sentences, that Mr Jefferson is talking of the kind of robust health that is energetic, kinetic, and bursting with movement. He is not talking of the health that lights up one’s innermost thoughts and adds a spring to one’s smile. He has a point, naturally, but maybe if he had been a twenty first century guru of everything, he would have phrased this same advice much differently.

Maybe he would not have talked of leaving ALL the afternoon for exercise and recreation, for if the ordinary man did so, the ordinary man would have to also go to bed with maybe one meal less in his tummy. Who but the school student, or the sports star has the opportunity to exercise all afternoon? It is also very questionable whether said school student or sports star would actually find this steady, compulsory sport practice recreational, all the time.

Maybe he would have suggested recreational exercise at different times of the day, suited to different walks of life, ages, and cultures. Maybe he would have added reading as recreation. Maybe he would have emphasised reading for health as well.

But, to give him his due, Thomas Jefferson is probably drawing the attention of people to the need for exercise and recreation, and recreation through exercise. Perhaps, in his wisdom, he foresaw, that there would come a time when people would get so cornered into eking out a subsistence during the day, and relaxing on their buttocks during the evening, that he saw the need to remind us to get out there and exercise. The “all” afternoon, is probably rhetoric, and the point about health and learning the same as well.

All Hail Thomas Jefferson. 

The Golden Girl

I can see her through the kitchen window. She is flying higher and higher on her swing, chubby face split by an endless grin, flying hair bathed in a golden glow. The wind kisses her as she swings daringly higher each time, but her gurgling giggles fail to reach my ears. She has come to visit me, again, as she often does, soundless, and swathed in a golden light. I don’t really know her very well. I think I do, as she is me, at the age of three and a half, give or take. But she is really a phantom of those days, not the whole person that was me. Golden girl 1

I remember those halcyon days, and even later ones as I grew up. Every memory of those days has a warm golden glow to it. That little girl, growing up in that home, is always laughing, always running, with the shiny golden light setting her aglow. I know that my childhood, and youth, as every one else’s had moments of such bliss and moments not quite so blissful. But when I look out of windows, in my moments of peace, that is the girl I see.

This is the reason why, I am guessing, many wish to go back to those days. They wish to hold on to those moments of innocence, laughter and fear free joy. They say, in a voice languishing with memories and myths, “I wish I was a child again, I wish I was that free and innocent child, again, with no worries in the world, living that life, revisiting those events.” Yearning for that fleeting, probably (perish the thought) non existent, moment of perfection.

I look back at this girl with the golden smile, and I feel her freedom, and her carefree existence. I feel the sun again on my skin, and the certainty the world was just the way it should be, with a delicious dinner and a cosy bed at the end of the dreamy day. But does that mean that I wish to go back to those days? I don’t think so.

I think that what I miss is that girl’s outlook on life. Each moment of her existence is swathed in the present. She is playing, and laughing, in the moment. She does not have a care, not only because she is innocent, but because this moment is perfect, as it is. She may have fallen, or been chided for being “naughty”, or been made to drink warm smelly milk, but that is not in this moment. That is past, and the time for learning silly times tables or spellings is not yet, so this moment is free, golden and alight with laughter, and a bouncy sense of peace.

Perhaps that is what I yearn for. This strength to let the past be, and not worry about the future. My tendency to live in the moment survived for years, much later than some others around me. Then one day I realised that this characteristic in me was looked upon by people I respected, as being superficial. A child’s unconcern about the future or the past is loveable innocence, but to take this un-awareness into adulthood shows a lack of self analysis and self-awareness. I must have agreed with this view of life, so I trained myself to worry , and fret, and analyse my mistakes, and generally hold myself in low esteem because I was not perfect. I could never be perfect, so the constancy of my fretfulness was ensured. I trained myself to fret about things I could not change, and remember real and imagined downfalls for years, years and years. I learnt to fret about the future even if it was only 30 minutes away, and to worry that I had been wrong in the past, even if that past was five minutes ago. I learnt never to let go of the past, and never to be in the present. I learnt to try and change things, everything to fit a standard that now seems arbitrary. Since most things are not meant to be changed, I was caught in a constant vortex of mindful frustration.

Years later, even when I learned that those whom I had respected may have had their own imperfections to deal with, and demons to battle, I still continued on my harried and worried way. As a new age of awareness and acceptance slowly emerged and made itself felt worldwide, I began to see the sense of being in the present, though I still beat myself up about the not present at every opportunity. Even as I wised up to the fact that the little girl had probably been wiser than the big girl I now was, I still clung to my over analytic, hyper critical self. I had trained myself only too well.

But that little girl still lingers. She still pops in once in a while, and teaches me, that each moment is an adventure awash in golden light. That is all.

 

Let the asana do the work for you

Imbued with the culture of doing, achieving, and pushing past the barrier, we end up on our yoga mats living the “no pain no gain” motto. Yet the mat is the one place where we can begin to learn that gain is not related to pain. Never. Not at all.

Along with the multifold (other) benefits of yoga, a double whammy of a benefit is, that, with regular practice, the asana does the work for you. All we need to do, with regular diligence, is to practice each asana to the point that our body allows us for that moment in time. Regularly, with patience, and correctness of posture. Did I mention diligence?

My early years of learning yoga under stringent circumstances, and long years of training in Indian Classical dancing, led me to an arrogant assumption, that, when I chose to learn again, I would be able to touch my toes. Easy. There. What did I say? I could do it.

Supported uttanasana

A chair does the trick as well.

The triumphant surge in my belly was short lived. My spine had to curve, and my shoulders had to stoop, in the exact ways that my book warned me not to, in my effort to prove to the most important person in the world, me, that I still had it in me. Today, I am not quite sure, what it was that was “in me”. I caught myself mirrored in the French window looking most inflexible and tortured. Red with mortification, and sweaty with humiliation, I turned away from that sight and reached for the blocks. I felt an unfamiliar sense of humility, coupled with a reluctant conviction that B. K. S. Iyengar must have known what he was writing about. I turned the blocks to their longest height, straightened, rooted my feet as evenly as possible, straightened my legs, raised my arms up, … you know the deal. When I then sneaked a look at the book, and back to my reflection, I realised I had to straighten my legs to a ninety degree angle from the floor, and soon I was able to breathe in a regular flow. Over a period of diligent, regular, time, I was able to lower the height of the block.

When I finally found a teacher I could adore, she gently pried the block away, and lo and behold, I was in my first, unsupported Uttanasana, since my childhood. I suddenly realised at that moment, that I had not put in an ounce of extra effort, ever, since that first time. Slowly, gradually, imperceptibly, over time, the muscles, legs, shoulders and spine had learnt to do whatever was necessary. Surely, and confidently, each time I practised, the asana had spoken to my body, and the two together had got my Uttanasana into place. As I proceeded through that lesson, I noticed the progress in each asana I had practised. Here was yoga. Here was a journey!

I am indebted to Yoga Adam for the title.

Image credit: http://dev.drfranklipman.com/uttanasana/

The Moment of No Sweat

I have just been asked to “not sweat the small stuff”. I was not aware that I was, so I looked back at my past few hours and days, and it seemed to me that I have not been sweating the small stuff.

There are a lot of avenues I have been lately chanelling my energies into. My son, and less so, my daughter who is an adult, my work, and my future in a career I have started building rather late in life. My rising awareness that other people in my age group have long established themselves in a career, and income, and are looking forward to the days of retirement, albeit not too close, with complacence. I have not chanelled my energy in their direction, but more so in working out what I can do to be able to face that same situation with the same contentment. After all, retirement is not as far off as it used to be.

For various reasons my will, my wishes and my special gifts, are not things I am really in touch with. Apparently, my dance was a gift I could have built my life upon. While I was passionate about my dance, the career building never quite happened. Other than that I have never had any amazing talents, visitations from the Divine, huge callings from within that I have ever felt I could take and run with.

Like millions, maybe billions, of others, my life has been a daily tramping of the mundane and the ever familiar. What has been dissimilar, is that I have now reached a point in my life where I am dissatisfied with the road popularly traversed, and unable to forge my own because I don’t know which one is my own. There is no shame in the mundane. After all, people reach a level of satisfaction with their “mundanity” that I have not reached with my search for the spark.

So I did not think that this was small stuff that I had been sweating, not for the past few weeks or days, but for the past few years. But perhaps it is? Perhaps it is all small stuff. Perhaps my sweating is what has stopped me from seeing something that is glaringly obvious? Perhaps it is time to release, relax and let go? Even more than I think I have? 00 droplet

Definitely worth a try. Perhaps it is time to stop the sweat and allow the drops of awareness come together and lead me to a flow. One that is completely mine.

image credit: http://hdwallsource.com/nature-12758.html

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